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Local llama places in candy bunny contest

Submitted Photo Diego Camacho stands with his llama, Eclipse.

GOWANDA — Resident Diego Camacho, like most 16 year olds, has a passion. But his passion is not exactly conventional for a standard 16-year-old. Camacho’s passion is llamas. Currently, he owns and takes care of six llamas, which he has bought on his own, using money he’s saved up from his job.

“I never thought we’d own a llama but now we own six,” said Diego’s mother, Tanya. “He spends money like no other teenager.”

One of Camacho’s llamas in particular has been making national rounds. As part of Cadbury’s Easter contest to find their bunny representative, they take submissions of all kinds of animals wearing rabbit ears, eventually narrowing down the competition to 10 finalists that are then voted on. The voting counts for around half of the scoring of the contest.

For the second straight year, Camacho submitted his llama, Eclipse, and while Camacho didn’t win this year, Eclipse finished in a very respectable fourth place. For Camacho though, he’s enjoying the opportunity to show his passion for the animal, while educating people about them as well.

“I really like sharing llamas with everyone and educating them,” Camacho said. “I’m having a lot of fun with these beautiful animals. I love taking her out in public to new places and meeting new people.”

In past years, the contest had gotten north of 12,000 entries, making a fourth-place finish that much better. For last year’s contest, Camacho and his mom submitted on the last day possible, meaning Eclipse never got the chance to shine. And even though Eclipse wasn’t the winner this year, Camacho is able to enter as many times as possible, until Eclipse is the winner.

Camacho first found his passion for llamas attending a program at Beaver Meadow in Buffalo, where he then began showing llamas at the Erie County Fair through a program. Camacho got Eclipse from Scotty Dyke of Buffalo Creek Llamas, after Eclipse’s mom died. Camacho then took care of Eclipse.

“I fell in love with her,” said Camacho. “After the llama’s mom died, I bottle fed her and kept bottle feeding her until I eventually bought her.”

The fourth-place finish in this year’s contest is only a positive for Camacho, who is eager to keep re-entering Eclipse until she is one day the winner.

The winners of Cadbury’s contest can be found at https://www.cadburyusa.com/content/cadbury/en–us/bunny-contest.html.

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